Newswise — Four New York University faculty have been awarded fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: Jayeeta Basu, an assistant professor in the Neuroscience Institute at NYU School of Medicine; Johannes Stroebel, an associate professor at NYU Stern School of Business; Nicolas Tritsch, an assistant professor in the Neuroscience Institute at NYU School of Medicine; and Daniel Turner, an assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Chemistry.

The fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars “whose achievements mark them as the next generation of scientific leaders,” the Sloan Foundation said in announcing this year’s 126 fellows.

“The Sloan Research Fellows are the rising stars of the academic community,” says Paul L. Joskow, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Through their achievements and ambition, these young scholars are transforming their fields and opening up entirely new research horizons. We are proud to support them at this crucial stage of their careers.”

Basu aims to understand how relevant sensory experiences are encoded as long-term memories and how these memories in turn shape ongoing sensory processing and future adaptive behavior. Specifically, she and her research team focus on linking together features of neural circuit design, neuronal diversity, and synaptic dynamics to define functional interactions between entorhinal cortex and hippocampus, brain areas critical for learning, memory and spatial navigation.

Stroebel’s research aims to better understand financial decision making of households. One of his recent projects documents the important role of social interactions in influencing households’ housing market investments. He has also studied the optimal regulation of consumer financial products and the effectiveness of monetary policy in stimulating spending by households.

Tritsch seeks to reveal how the nervous system generates movement and to determine how disorders of movement control, such as Parkinson’s disease, corrupt this process. Specifically, he and his team are particularly interested in understanding how a collection of brain nuclei known as the basal ganglia participates in the selection, execution, and reinforcement of voluntary movement at the synaptic, cellular, and circuit levels.

Turner’s work focuses on extraordinarily fast chemical phenomena, i.e. the pathway traveled by a molecule undergoing a light-induced transition, with a particular interest in the key point in the pathway (called a conical intersection) as a reactant morphs into a product. His research aims to improve the fundamental knowledge of processes such as charge transfer and light harvesting (i.e., for solar cells), as well as lead to new design principles for technologies including optogenetics, a technique that holds promise for addressing neurological disorders, and photovoltaics, which are fundamental for harnessing solar energy.

Since the beginning of the program in 1955, 43 fellows have received a Nobel Prize in their respective fields, 16 have won the Fields Medal in mathematics, 69 have received the National Medal of Science, and 16 have won the John Bates Clark Medal in economics, including every winner since 2007.

Fellows receive $60,000, over a two-year period, to further their research.

Awarded in eight scientific and technical fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics—the Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded in close coordination with the scientific community. Candidates must be nominated by their fellow scientists and winning fellows are selected by an independent panel of senior scholars on the basis of a candidate’s independent research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become a leader in his or her field.

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Alfred P. Sloan Foundation